Sharper Review

Sharper is another name for a swindler, especially at cards. In the movie Sharper, there is a whole lot of that going on. Directed by Benjamin Caron, the film blends con artists with a mixture of other characters in a way that is genius and enticing.

Sharper begins with a manager of a bookstore, Tom (played by Justice Smith). He meets a girl, Sandra (played by Briana Middleton), who seems to be a hardworking student, and they find romance rather quickly. Things change when Sandra tells Tom she has a brother with criminal problems who also owes someone money. Tom offers to help Sandra, but she leaves to make money (supposedly) for her brother.

The film continues with Sandra, and there is more to her story than the we realize. Her life is a web of unexplained behaviors and situations. Sandra meets Max (played by Sebastian Stan), and he offers to show Sandra how to be a con artist. After this, Sharper continues down a dangerous road. Max meets a woman, Madeline (played by Julianne Moore), who is supposedly his mother. Madeline has a new man, Richard (played by John Lithgow), who is a wealthy entrepreneur. Max acts like he has lots of problems, but his problems are a lie and Madeline knows it—but what does Richard know? What does anyone know about each other in this film? What’s true and what’s a lie? The theme of Sharper is to trust no one.

Each character in Sharper has an ego, an addiction, or a resentment with someone. The tensions and secrets continue to stir the pot. Is Max really who he claims to be? Is Sandra who she claims to be? Is Madeline who she claims to be? Audiences will not know who can be believed, and everyone is a liar on some level. The con artists also present themselves as high-class, but they are actually anything but high-class.

The full picture of Sharper is hard to explain, but the complexity is one of the things that makes it heart-pounding. The lies, improvisations, and deceit are never ending. Tom, Sandra, Max, Madeline, and Richard all intertwine in a world of creative lies in their attempt to profit, and their lies take them down a dangerous slope of irreparable consequences. This clever and dangerous puzzle of a film makes for a stellar masterpiece. Four stars for Sharper.


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